After Trump Intervenes, Foxconn to Move Forward With Construction of Wisconsin Factory

February 1, 2019 Updated: February 1, 2019

Foxconn said it would move forward with building a planned facility in Wisconsin after President Donald Trump intervened.

Trump responded to the news on Feb. 1, confirming that he’d spoken with Terry Gou, the company’s founder and chairman.

“Great news on Foxconn in Wisconsin after my conversation with Terry Gou!” he said on Twitter.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who helped bring the project to the state, also reacted on the social media website. “Foxconn continues to move forward in Wisconsin!” he said.

Taiwan-based Foxconn said in an announcement that it would build a liquid crystal display manufacturing plant in Racine County, as was planned previously.

The decision came after “productive discussions between the White House and the company, and after a personal conversation between President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Terry Gou,” Foxconn said in a statement.

Foxconn’s planned factory is slated to provide 13,000 jobs in the state.

Reports swirled this week suggesting Foxconn was backing off its plan to build the factory, a project championed by Trump and Walker as a sign of a resurgence in American-based manufacturing.

President Donald Trump (C), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (L), and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou at the groundbreaking for the Foxconn Technology Group computer screen plant in Mt Pleasant, Wis., on June 28, 2018. (Andy Manis/Getty Images)

The main source of the reports appeared to be an interview by Louis Woo, special assistant to Gou, with Reuters. Woo reportedly told the wire agency that Foxconn was changing plans and would create a technology hub that would largely consist of research facilities, adding: “We’re not building a factory.”

Walker was among those reacting to the reports, saying on Twitter: “Foxconn earns state tax credits based on actual investment and job creation. No jobs/investment? No credits. Period.”

In the statement on Friday, the company said it would build a facility that included a factory. The “campus will serve both as an advanced manufacturing facility as well as a hub of high technology innovation for the region,” it stated.

Current Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, said on Friday that Foxconn had appeared to stay on track the whole time but claimed their messaging hasn’t always been clear.

trump tours foxconn
President Donald Trump takes a tour of Foxconn with Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, right, and CEO of SoftBank Masayoshi Son in Mt. Pleasant, Wis., on June 28, 2018. (Evan Vucci, AP Photo)

He also questioned whether the facility would create 13,000 jobs.

“As they view the economic environment they obviously they have changed what they’re going to do over time,” Evers told reporters after speaking with a Foxconn official, reported the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

“This announcement today frankly isn’t a new one. They’ve talked about doing the Generation 6 work for some time. But I also think that means the 13,000 is not going to happen tomorrow. We have to monitor it.”

Some in the state have blamed Evers for the alleged shifting of Foxconn’s plan. Robin Vos, Republican speaker of the state Assembly, said on Twitter: “And some wonder why we would doubt the sincerity of @GovEvers when his party celebrates 13k jobs as a ‘boondoggle?'”

Criticism of the project has focused on the more than $4 billion in public aid that Foxconn is set to receive.

Reports claimed that Evers was attempting to renegotiate deals already inked with the company but his spokeswoman took to Twitter to say the reporters were false.

Mark Hogan, CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state’s economic development agency, under both Walker and Evers, said on Thursday in a statement that the contract was not under negotiation.

“I have been involved with the Foxconn project from day one and there never have been any side deals and the contract stands on its own,” Hogan said in a statement. “In addition, there have been no attempts by either the company or the Evers’ or Walker administrations to renegotiate WEDC’s contract.”

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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